Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

Title:Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto
Shogun`un Son Günleri
幕末機関説 いろはにほへと
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - SUNRISE
Music - KAJIURA Yuki
The End of the Edo Era was also the end of the Age of the Samurai. The arrival of the Westerners with their new ways and weapons was generating turmoil and chaos throughout Japan. The members of the Kakunojou Yuuyama Theater Troupe have spent ten years seeking to revenge the death of their Master. At the same time, a ronin named Youriro Akidzuki is searching for the Hasha no Kubi, (or the Head of Conqueror.) – a dangerous mystical treasure that is rumored to assure victory in combat. Their paths cross in the year 1853 in the city of Yokohama, at a time when shadow armies are locked in a struggle for power, control and the future of the country.

26 TV Episodes
Animation by Sunrise
New Series aired on Oct, 2006
Episode Details 
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 8 7 7 8 Ggultra2764 [series:1489#1552]
Intrigue in the Bakumatsu is another Japanese historical anime that mixes historical re-imagining with Japanese folklore, in this case the final years of the Tokugawa shogunate as swordsman Akizuki Yojiro tries to track down the whereabouts of a cursed mask that a shady auction owner has in his possession. Throughout his quest, Yojiro crosses paths with a theater troupe who are banded together to avenge the murder of their leader's parents and have a playwright among their troupe with hidden motives for his involvement with the group. The series is mostly plot-driven as it mixes around elements to the real-life tensions between factions that took place in the Tokugawa era with the original plot of Yojiro trying to hunt down and seal the cursed mask. The plot is an engaging one as political and mystical elements get brought into the mix with multiple factions (some being Europeans) trying to either claim their influence in Japan or get the cursed mask in their possession with a few surprising plot twists that help to shake things up in the anime's plot towards its second half. A number of major characters get fleshed out enough so you can care enough for their involvement in Yojiro's journey and some characters based on real-life historical figures, like a few members of the Shinsengumi, are around to make things interesting. Obviously with the heavy focus on history with the final years of Japan's Tokugawa period, it is best that you at least have some knowledge of the history and influential figures of the period so you aren't lost on what gets mentioned.

That isn't to say all is perfect with this series. Being mostly plot-driven, there are some characters who are underdeveloped compared to others and the final few episodes of the series get a bit too overblown with the folklore elements they play out involving the cursed mask, pulling these at great cost to the solid mix of folklore and period politics that took place throughout much of the series. Plus, it can get convoluted at points trying to follow the multiple factions and many characters that are around throughout the series, enough so where I did have to rewatch episodes at points just to make sense of who was involved with whatever faction and why.

Visually, Intrigue in the Bakumatsu opts for realism in its character designs as facial details are at more natural proportions compared to many current titles with a great level of detail and subdued color tones used in the designs of characters and scenery. The animation here is nowhere as visually impressive as titles like Death Note and Ergo Proxy that aired in 2006, but fight scenes are portrayed to be as believable as possible meaning nothing is dragged out or over-the-top with battle sequences. This may be a turn off for anime fans hoping to see overly elaborate and well-animated sword fight scenes. The music for the series implements a traditional theme for many of its tracks that make a nice fit for the setting and mood of the series, though nothing of particular note really stuck out for me with the show's soundtrack.

If you're a sap for historical anime titles with a smidge of Japanese folklore added to the mix, Intrigue in the Bakumatsu may be a solid watch for you. Despite its shoddy final episodes, it is still a solid title that does a great job in its buildup on the alliances that cross blades and guns with one another, as well as the cursed mask making its presence felt as episodes progress and Yojiro seeks to destroy it.

Last updated Saturday, November 09 2013. Created Saturday, November 09 2013.

Watch Marcus [series:1489#679]
Episodes seen: 6

Set in Yokohama at the end of the samurai era, this series seems to be trying for a mix of historically accurate action/drama, and fantasy elements involving an ancient treasure supposed to confer extraordinary power on those who possess it.

Bakumatsu is one of those anime containing a large cast of characters with competing agendas, loosely revolving around this ancient treasure. It also drops you into the middle of this conflict without much explanation as to what's going on. After six episodes, I have to say it's been difficult to follow all the dealings and manouvering between the different factions. Hopefully this will settle down as the plot develops, as the story and some of the characters are interesting.

Last updated Saturday, April 28 2007. Created Friday, April 27 2007.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:1489#967]
Yokohama at this time was the only open port in Japan for western merchants – a city full of intrigue and dark dealings. The merchants were very busy smuggling in their high-tech goods (such as gattling-guns), while western agents are busy trying to negotiate backroom deals with whatever lord is brave enough to risk being associated with them.

Great animation – interesting setting and characters – very much a dramatic action story with a lot of sword, gun and ninja combat scenes.

But to be honest, I kinda lost interest at about episode 12 when the story got too deep, ponderous and complex. It just got to be a bit too much in trying to mix ancient priests and magic surrounding the mystery of the 'magic head', with the machinations of politics and western weapons.

(I have posted some snaps from the first episode)

Last updated Monday, September 22 2008. Created Friday, November 10 2006.

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